Weekly permutations: 21-23 Sep 2018
Now that the league tables have settled down a bit, it’s time for me to switch the weekly permutations graphics back on. Previously there were two graphics for each division: one showing how far it was mathematically possible for each team to move and another showing what my ratings model thought was likely. Towards the back end of last season I managed to successfully combine these into a single graphic, so that’s what I’ll be using from now on.
Each graphic shows the current league table on the left, a hollow colour-coded strip showing how far each team is mathematically capable of moving during the next round of fixtures and inside the strip is a little minimalist column chart showing the relative chance of them ending up in each position.
Four different clubs could start next week at the Premier League summit, although in practice it would be tough for Watford to manage it thanks to their goal difference and the slim chance of the three teams above them all dropping enough points. Bottom side Burnley can leapfrog as many as five other clubs and only four teams – from Wolves to Crystal Palace – can’t finish the weekend in either the top four or bottom three.
Leeds look pretty likely to cling onto top spot and it’d take an unlikely scenario to turf them out of the automatic promotion places altogether. Anyone down to 15th-placed Bolton can start next week in the top six – while QPR are only three points adrift of sixth, Aston Villa’s match with Sheffield Wednesday means that one of them is guaranteed to stay above them.
The four-point gap between Peterborough and Barnsley means that the top two can only exchange places this weekend. While both Fleetwood and Blackpool can break into the play-offs, they could also drop into the bottom half. Plymouth’s tough away trip to Charlton – combined with many of the teams immediately above them playing at home – means that they’re likely to endure at least one more week at the foot of the table.
Lincoln’s three-point cushion means that they’re guaranteed to remain an automatic promotion place, but plenty of different teams could be joining them. Everyone down to 11th-placed Carlisle can start next week in the top three, while the next three clubs can also break into the play-offs. With Macclesfield travelling to fellow strugglers Morecambe, Grimsby’s chances of being dragged into the relegation zone are lower than they would be otherwise.